DOUBLE OAK — The memorial for former Mayor Thomas Pidcock, who died nearly one year ago, is complete and will be unveiled Thursday during the town and volunteer fire department’s annual Fourth of July parade and picnic festivities.
Pidcock died of complications from lung cancer in July 2012. The mayor’s death left the town and council devastated from the loss of a man they describe as a great leader, mentor and friend.
Town employees said Pidcock had a long history with cancer but rarely talked about it. Even when he had one of his lungs surgically removed, Pidcock kept working.
“He handled everything like a soldier, even his battle with cancer,” Mayor Mike Donnelly said of Pidcock, who served two years in the U.S. Navy and 33 years in the Army, in which he reached the rank of command sergeant major before retiring in 2000.
For about 15 years, Pidcock served on and off as an elected official in Double Oak. He was elected to the Town Council for multiple terms, and in 2011 he was elected mayor.
As mayor, Pidcock was required to handle day-to-day operations. Days before his death, residents and family members stood by his bedside.
On Thursday, some of those same people will help the town dedicate the Mayor Thomas Pidcock Honor Memorial.
Donnelly said the work could not have been completed without the support of local residents and Pidcock’s family.
“Double Oak is such a can-do and volunteer community,” Donnelly said.
Council member Steve Durbin led the memorial efforts and formed a committee. He even solicited the help of Eagle Scout Phillip Blan, who took on the project to earn scouting’s top rank.
“It’s going to be great,” Durbin said. “We’ve had a lot of support from the community. A high percentage of all the materials used was donated from local businesses and residents.”
Many people have helped in some way to make the project a fitting memorial to Pidcock, Donnelly said.
“I know that he would be so pleased with its outcome,” Donnelly said.
The memorial also will be used to honor other town officials and residents, Durbin said.
The memorial has 12-foot-by-12-foot paved stones that can be removed and engraved with the names of people whom town officials want to honor.
“We want the memorial to honor Tom and also others who mean a great deal to our community,” Durbin said.
Town officials have been busy for months getting everything planned out and ready for Thursday.
“Work started about a couple weeks ago, and it has been full steam ahead since to get completed in time for the July Fourth dedication,” Donnelly said.
The celebration begins with a parade at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. The parade starts at the corner of Simmons Road at Timberlead Drive in Double Oak.
The parade will proceed south on Simmons, turn east on Cross Timbers Drive to Waketon Road and will end at Downing Middle School, just past Double Oak Town Hall.
Parking will be provided north and south of Downing Middle School.
The memorial will be unveiled at approximately 10:15 a.m. after the parade, at Town Hall, 320 Waketon Road.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882and via Twitter at @JDHarden.